Kuwait integrates humanitarian action with development in Africa
MALABO: In its drive to deepen and expand relations with the African Continent, Kuwait juggles economic, development and humanitarian action with diplomatic one. Relations with African nations has been a top issue in Kuwait’s foreign policy. In this regard, the Kuwaiti government has unveiled several initiatives to give impetus to development marches in African developing countries.
Kuwait hosting of the 3rd Afro-Arab summit in November 2013 and the initiative made by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to allocate $1 billion to finance development projects in African countries in five years, to come through low-interest loans, have shown the Gulf country’s great interest in fostering strong relations with the Continent.
Kuwait has kept promises it made in the previous summit of meeting the needs of African countries of improving their economy, infrastructure, food security, agriculture and development projects; hence bettering the lives of its people. The 3rd Summit adopted a new partnership strategy and a joint plan of action. The two regions reviewed progress made in the three years since, and deliberated on how to strengthen their cooperation in ways that would live up to the expectations of their citizens in terms of socio cultural and economic development based on the principles of equality, mutual interest and respect.
Kuwait also launched a $1 million worth prize to scientific researches on topics focused on development in Africa. The winner of this year’s edition of the prize would be honored in a ceremony to be held on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 4th Afro-Arab summit, which will be held in Equatorial Guinea on November 23, 2016.
The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), the state’s agency for the provision and administration of financial and technical assistance to developing countries, have entered in partnerships with 30 African countries. Moreover, the Kuwait Investment Authority has also pumped huge capitals into the infrastructure, energy, agriculture and industry sectors in Africa. Earlier this month, Kuwait handed over a special project to enhance the medical services delivery system at the African Union Commission (AUC) Headquarters. Welcoming the project, the AUC Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said it was very important as it serves as a practical symbol of solidarity between the African Union and the government of Kuwait.
She then added that the AU has a memorandum of understanding with the government of Kuwait that includes the next phase after this one. “It will support the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), an institution critical towards building resilience and coordination in the continent to manage and prevent the spread of diseases.” Kuwait has also rushed to help African countries hit by the recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah donated $5 million to the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to help qualify medical centers in the virus-hit countries to deal with the emergency. Kuwait’s non-government organizations such as Kuwait Red Crescent Society, the International Islamic Charitable Organization, the Islamic Heritage Revival Society have been providing financial, technical and humanitarian aid to many African countries. In recognition of his great humanitarian action, the United Nations proclaimed His Highness the Amir a ‘Humanitarian Leader’ and Kuwait a ‘Humanitarian Center’ on September 9, 2014.— KUNA